Thursday, August 26, 2010

The lure of Ramadan bazaars


A Ramadan bazaar in Wangsa Maju, Selangor.
If you throw a stone in Malaysia during the month of Ramadan, you are likely to hit a bazaar.

Bazaars offering a wide variety of food had sprouted up all over the country since Ramadan began on August 11.

Lists of the top bazaars to go to have been drawn up. The more known and established bazaars attract enthusiasts from everywhere. Plans are made early in the day as to which bazaar they should visit.

Malaysians enjoy their Ramadan bazaars just as they love their pasar malam (night markets).

The tired soul derives great pleasure from soaking up the sight, sound and smell of stalls laden with delicious food.

Food shopping at the bazaars is enjoyable but do it wisely.
And there is something for everybody at the Ramadan bazaars.

The appearance of dishes (such as bubur lambuk or savoury rice porridge) peculiar to the fasting month and normally not seen Malay cakes especially traditional ones (such as tepung pelita and pisang sira, among others) in the bazaars is cause for celebration and a simple trip to buy food for the berbuka puasa (the breaking of fast at sunset) table turns into a jolly outing.

Choosing your favourite comfort food at a familiar stall for breaking the day's fast is a fun and satisfying experience for many.

There is nothing wrong with that.

Tepung pelita, a Malay dessert, is popular with shoppers.
Also, the month of Ramadan provides jobs for budding entrepreneurs and that is a good thing.

But, as consumerists and other concerned Malaysians point out repeatedly, people tend to overspend and overeat during the fasting month.

Food shopping on an empty stomach is a bad plan because every item on the stall counters looks appetising.

It is bound to lead to buying food that will probably end up in the dustbin.

Bubur lambuk, a savoury rice porridge, makes its appearance during Ramadan
It would be a good idea to make a list of food items that you need and stick to it.

If you are not careful, food shopping at the Ramadan bazaars can take a considerable chunk out of your monthly food budget.

The goal is to be prudent consumers.

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